Alan Wheatley Green Party Disability Spokesperson


It is all very disturbing news. One point I notice in reading the adult care green paper for England is that the options have implications for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland via the tax and benefits systems, and yet it seems that the people in those other territories – that have higher rates of unemployment — are not being consulted.

And it all makes a mockery of ‘personalisation of social services’.

I would also argue that any soothing words such as Care Services Minister Phil Hope’s, “DLA is not under threat and people can be very happy”[1] have virtually no validity when said at Labour Party Autumn Conference or in Labour Party conference season. A similar thing happened at the Labour Party conference in 2007 regarding plans to close Remploy factories.[2] The Remploy mantra over Remploy-factory closures was, “Supported employment, not sheltered employment.” Remploy management kept their top-end luxury car fleet.[3]

In the market economy, the lives of the economically most vulnerable are colonised and commoditised as fossil fuel supplies dwindle. ‘Government consultations’ are too frequently ill-informed and laden with misconceptions about minorities such as people with severe mental illness and people with autism. “Those who give the order seldom see the mess it makes.”[4] Both groups are traditionally over-represented on the poverty line, and disability benefits have been designed to compensate for that poverty.

Yet the Adult Care Green Paper has been marketed more in the context of making adult social care funding and services fit the needs of an ageing population, at a time when Labour and Tory ‘welfare reform’ agendas seek to reduce the out-of-paid-work benefits bill.

In the Welfare Reform Green Paper of 2008, “No-one written off:
Reforming welfare to reward responsibility” all of the questions about ‘rewards’ were to do with rewarding prospective scheme providers, and the carefully edited published research skewed toward scapegoating claimants. By contrast, for the Adult Care Green Paper, more elderly home owners are targeted as respondents. Adults with learning difficulties who cannot read are already suffering from savagely axed ESA payments and will not be supported to respond adequately to this consultation, despite the existence of ‘easy read’ editions.

Not enough is invested in lifelong education, etc; and also home-based family carers are neglected, too. As Rosemary has commented elsewhere, family-based carers are motivated by LOVE, not money. They also require more resources and respite support.[5] Increasing Carers Allowance would
be a great start there, I believe.

Supplying the London 2012 workforce has priority over supporting basic level independence, Learning & Skills Council London Central reported in late 2004.

Meanwhile, most newly qualified Speech & Language Therapists cannot get paid work as SLTs and too many social care service users are denied a voice in day-to-day transactions, let alone government consultations. In the case of adults with severe speech impairment on account of a lifelong condition, it should be noted that family-based carers are more likely to have learned to ‘interpret the language’ as the speech-impaired service user grew up than an army of ‘bank’ social care workers would while on cover duty.

To sum it all up, in such a diverse and inequitable society as ours, perhaps ‘fair’ is just a four-letter word?

Warmest regards

Alan Wheatley
Green Party Disability Spokesperson

PS: Mental health orders is an interesting contrast with Atos Healthcase assessments and Government targets.




[4] Euripides, translated by Jean Paul Sartre ‘The Trojan Women’ [play] The Trojan women by Euripides

[5] Peter Beresford:  The prime minister’s party conference commitment to introduce free home care for people with the highest needs has made a further mockery of the government’s green paper consultation.

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